E.D.Pa.: Def was “stopped” when he was ordered to turn around at gunpoint; RS wasn’t dispelled just by minor discrepancies in clothing, skin tone, and weight

“[T]here was a clear show of authority when Powell approached Bey with his gun drawn and ordered him to turn around. This command would have conveyed to a reasonable person that he was being ordered to restrict his movement. Bey submitted to that show of authority when he immediately complied with Powell’s command to turn around and raise his hands.” Slight discrepancies in the clothing, skin tone, and weight description were not enough to render the stop invalid. Reasonable suspicion was not readily dispelled after the stop, either. United States v. Bey, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30999 (E.D. Pa. March 6, 2017):

Bey’s argument would suggest that, since Powell knew the identity of the fleeing suspect, he should have conducted further investigation to determine Bey’s identity prior to seizing him. But the Supreme Court has cautioned that “[t]he reasonableness of the officer’s decision to stop a suspect does not turn on the availability of less intrusive investigatory techniques. Such a rule would unduly hamper the police’s ability to make swift, on-the-spot decisions … and it would require courts to indulge in unrealistic second-guessing.” United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 11, 109 S. Ct. 1581, 104 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1989) (quotations and citations omitted). Similarly, the Third Circuit has counseled that courts should be “reluctant to ‘second-guess’ investigative decisions made by officers in hot pursuit of criminal suspects.” Robertson, 305 F.3d at 167 (quoting Valentine, 232 F.3d at 355); see also United States v. Edwards, 591 Fed. Appx. 156, 159-60 (3d Cir. 2014) (finding that reasonable suspicion did not evaporate as to appellant — the perpetrator of a bank robbery — when another suspect was incorrectly identified as the perpetrator, based in part on the investigation involving a “swiftly developing situation,” and declining “on this record to second-guess the investigative decisions made by the law enforcement officers on the scene ….”) (quotations omitted).

Accordingly, the seizure was justified at its inception, and the record evidence does not support a finding that reasonable suspicion was dispelled.

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